Monthly Archives: July, 2014

Homegoing of a Saint – Dr. W.G. Harvey

IMG9589895323095561PADUCAH, KENTUCKY – Longtime pastor, city commissioner and civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. W.G. Harvey, has gone home to be with the Lord. He was 88 years old.

Dr. Harvey founded the New Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church and pastored previously the Harrison Street Missionary Baptist Church. He served New Greater Love until his retirement and was honored as the Pastor Emeritus by the congregation.

He held a lifetime membership of the NAACP and was the first African-American elected as City Commissioner.

The home going services have been announced by the family as follows:

Services will be held on Monday, July 14, 2014:

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Family Viewing

3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. – Public Viewing

5:00 p.m. – Masonic Rites

7:00 p.m. – Homegoing Service
New Greater Love Missionary Baptist Church
1249 North 12th Street
Paducah, Kentucky
Rev. LaRita Horton, Pastor

The preferred hotel is:
The Fairfield Inn and Suites
3950 Coleman Crossing Road
Paducah, Kentucky 42001
(270) 442-1700

To fax condolences to the family (via Pettus-Rowland Funeral Home) please send them to (270) 442-0272.

What a Difference a Year Makes

by Robert Earl Houston

DALLAS, TEXAS – I went to Dallas last year on personal family business and came home empty-handed, broken-hearted, and at the end of my rope.  It took months to even discuss it. That was even before I had been diagnosed with cancer and at the same time dealing with the responsibilities of pastoring a thriving church in Frankfort, Kentucky. I was shaken and stirred. I had prayed for success and the end result was humiliation, disrespect and a feeling of anger and resentment I had never experienced before. It made me to make post-life decisions to express my reaction. It made me understand the adage, “Life is too short . . .  ”

Fast forward to 2014. I’m in Dallas again, attending the E.K. Bailey Preaching Conference and really, honestly, and truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I’m blessed, foremost, with a clear relationship with Jesus Christ. After watching Him repair my heart over and over and over again after the Dallas Debacle and seeing two of my best friends receive their commencement in Heaven, and going through the ups and downs of ministry – I trust Him more and more. Last night, Dr. E. Dewey Smith talked about the downs of ministry. A year ago, I would have been in tears, this year – no tears, but an appreciation of the repair apparatus of God. My heart has been healed.

Secondly, I have an amazing life in Frankfort. Note of disclosure: Kentucky’s state capitol was the one I could never get correct in school (always thought it was Louisville). My wife and I have been tremendously blessed since our marriage in 2005. We haven’t had five minutes of arguments in nine years that I have listened to (JOKE CREDIT: The late Rev. Dr. E.V. Hill) and we have an extraordinary church family. We live RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO THE CHURCH, but they respect our privacy and we have walked together with our congregation in our highs and our lows. Our lows have been rough but it is in our lows that we discover that our God whom we serve is truly able.

Thirdly, my health is improving. I’m a tad skinnier than I was last year. Getting into some clothing that was headed to the Goodwill because of “lack of additional space.” Since my bout with cancer, I’ve developed an ulcer (open wound) on my foot, which my medical team now says should be completely healed this summer. I started my walking regimen this week in Dallas, wearing diabetic shoes with orthopedic inserts. I’m on a dietary routine . . . well, when I get back home, I’ll get back to it. Dallas food ain’t no joke and some of my favorite restaurants in the US are here – Pappasito’s, Pappadeaux’s, Catfish King, and even Church’s Chicken (hard to find in Kentucky). I’m walking this year without a cane, without a cast, and moving better than in a long, long time.

Fourthly, I’m content. Look, I’m 54 years old – I don’t look like it (thank you to those who invented razors and Michael Jordan who made bald a fashion statement). I’ve had my challenges but God’s been good. I look back over my life and those stormy moments are nothing but history now and now worth repeating. I’m thankful for my beginning years in Portland. I’m grateful for my enjoyable years in Fresno. I’m grateful for the maturing and challenging years in San Diego. I’m grateful for the restorative years in Nashville. And now, I’m thankful for the blessed years. In the words of a pastor I spoke with this week, he said “Houston, it sounds like you are going to heaven from Frankfort.” We shall see. But these are the best times of my life.

At 54, I’m a card carrying member of the “Senior Sages” fraternity of preachers. This year it’s been 37 years since I’ve been called to preach. This year it’s been 36 years since I preached by first sermon at New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon. This year it’s been 25 years since I began a series of Pastoral assignments. I’ve been a member in all these years of all four national baptist conventions and the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. I’ve held convention office from Vice Moderator of a District to Congress Dean to State President to District General Secretary in two districts, President’s Special Assistant of a National Convention, Board Chair of one of the nation’s oldest black newspapers. It’s been quite the ride.

This week, I overheard a couple of ministers as I walked by. The younger one said to the older one “who is that?” He said, “man, THAT’s Robert Houston. You need to read his blog. He’s one of the best.” My friend Dr. E. Dewey Smith, made it a point to tell me, “Houston, you’ve been a blessing to the body of Christ and pastors everywhere.”

I’m in a good place in life. And not ashamed to say, as Dr. Smith, said, that I’m even holistically well – physically, spiritually, and mentally. I know when it’s time to find someone to talk to. Lord knows I’ve had enough to warrant that counsel this past year. I encourage Pastors – make sure it is well with your soul, your strength, and YOUR MIND.

I’m grateful that I did not become a statistic.


The Baton Has Been Passed

by Robert Earl Houston

DALLAS, TEXAS – I am here attending the E.K. Bailey International Expository Preaching Conference (EKB). I haven’t been since the home going of Dr. Bailey several years ago.

My conference career began by going to the Lacy Kirk Williams Ministers Institute sponsored then by Bishop College here in Dallas. It was at that conference that I had the opportunity to meet ministers from across the country in close vantage point and learn a few things along the way. Sadly, Bishop College closed, but several ministers have kept the Institute going, and one year I was invited to be on faculty. Very honored by that.

Then I found out about EKB. He had a Church Growth Conference that I had heard about and then he created the Expository Preaching Conference to share with the nation what the National Congresses could not or would not. While the Congresses were holding pastoral conferences which featured great preachers – but you left there wanting to be a great preacher, but nobody wanted to share what they knew on a broader scale.

Then along came Dr. Bailey. He called in some of his noteworthy friends, mentors, and yes, those he mentored. All of a sudden, you had a venue that taught you how to be a black expository preacher. He and his team taught you how to look at a text, dissect the text, make it palatable and how to serve it with a dash of soul. His conferences literally transformed the nation. You came to hear Dr. Bailey, Dr. Melvin Wade, Dr. Jasper Williams, Dr. Warren Wiersbe, Dr. Timothy Winters, Dr. William Shaw, and other great masters of the pulpit.

The along came three preachers – Drs. R.A. Williams, Jr., George Waddles and the late Larry L. Harris, Sr., who produced another conference that dealt even deeper and became a crash-course on expository preaching using culture, syntax, original languages – it was a dizzying week. I went to that conference (it was closer to me when I lived in San Diego). In that conference it was early morning to late afternoon classes, evening worship and then a series of preaching using the original languages became another facet of black expository preaching.

Fast forward to 2014. Dr. Bailey is gone. God bless the procession of his memory. When you walked into the Fairmont Hotel, they have his sermons streaming on a screen. Before his death, his hand appointed a young man that most of us had never heard of – Bryan Carter, to lead the Conference. Eventually, Dr. Carter would work hand-in-hand to consolidate EKB and her S.T.A.N.D. Women’s Conference, which now meet congruently.

I see very clearly why Dr. Bailey selected Bryan Carter. He’s likable, he’s comfortable in his own skin – he inherited one of the greatest pulpits in Dallas and he seems so down to earth, so friendly. I saw him work the hallway and it reminded me of E.K. – he would walk a few steps, shake hands; walk a few more, shake more hands; We’ve been Facebook and Twitter friends – but this week I had the opportunity to meet him. Matter of fact, we took pictures together (and I was honored that he agreed) with my phone and then he asked one of his assistants to get his phone, “I want to take a picture with Dr. Houston.” Man, I was trying not to blush.

Truth of the matter is that the baton has been passed. Those of us in our mid 50s and higher – we’re now the senior sages of preaching. There is a young group coming after us – led by people like Bryan Carter, E. Dewey Smith, Jr., H.B. Charles, Jr., who are not only keeping alive expository preaching but taking it to levels that are what were not available before in E.K.’s day, but certainly have his fingerprints all over it.

Dr. Carter’s team is impressive: Steven Lawson, Chuck Fuller, Lance Watson, James Allman, Clayborn Lea, Robert Smith, Jr., E. Dewey Smith, Jr., Melvin Wade, Keith Reed, Scott Lindsey, William Curtis, and others. To my remembrance, only Drs. Wade and Smith were there the last time I came to EKB.

The baton has been passed at EKB. The conference (and Concord Church) is in sound hands. By the way – he was the keynote speaker this morning. I sat with one of my contemporaries, Dr. Maurice Bates of California, and we marveled at the depth, stewardship, and preaching of Dr. Carter. Matter of fact, he preached so strongly today that Dr. Bates said “give him the mike” after he sat down very quietly while the congregation was praising God.

I walked up to him and said “there has to be some billy goats in Dallas walking around confused, because you just preached their horns off.”

The new generation is here.


Homegoing of a Saint – Bishop Harold Ivory Williams, Raleigh, NC

RALEIGH, NC – Bishop Harold Ivory Williams went home to be with the Lord on July 4, 2014.  His services have been announced by the Presiding Bishop, Archbishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr. of the Mount Calvary Holy Church of America as follows:

Please keep his wife, Pastor Shirley Caesar-Williams and the Mt. Calvary Raleigh family in your prayers. All services will be held at Mt. Calvary Holy Church Word of Faith, 3100 Sanderford Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27510, 919.832.1800.  The arrangements are as follows:

Friday, July 11, 2013

Bishop Williams will lie in state from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Local/State Celebration of Life
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
(Civic Attire)

Saturday, July 12, 2013

Viewing – 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

National Homegoing Celebration – 11:00 a.m.
(Choir Dress – Official MCHCA Robes)

This is Bishop Williams’ biography from the Church Web Site:

Bishop Harold I. Williams, Sr., is the Bishop Emeritus of the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America. Bishop Williams pastured the Winston-Salem MCHCA church for more than 30 years, while serving as Senior Bishop Prelate of the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America organization. As a disciple of Bishop Brumfield Johnson, Bishop Williams gleaned the essence of Johnson’s heart-similar to Elijah and Elisha. And as adamantly as Elisha refused to leave Elijah, Bishop Williams was faithful to Bishop Johnson until Bishop Johnson’s death on February 15, 1972. And just as with Elijah and Elisha, when Elisha sought a double portion of God’s anointing of his spiritual mentor, Bishop Williams embraced the torch of MCHCA and exponentially grew the church in which Bishop Brumfield Johnson had begun.


Bishop Williams founded a MCHCA church in Baltimore, Maryland, while he pastured a MCHCA church in Washington, D.C. as well as the original congregation he inherited from Bishop Johnson in Winston-Salem, NC. By today’s vernacular, one could say that Bishop Williams pastured “one church in three locations”. And he did all of that while holding down his secular job of tuning pianos for the now-defunct Hecht Company. Bishop Williams was as tenacious as his predecessor in seeking the advancement of God’s Kingdom through the MCHCA organization. By God’s leading, Bishop Williams appointed Hansel H. Henry to pastor the MCHCA in Baltimore and then merged with the then-pastor Alfred A Owens, Jr’s church; Christ Is The Answer Chapel with the MCHCA Washington, D.C., church. That is when the Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church (GMCHC) was born. Bishop Williams’s relationship with these two men could continue to grow and he eventually installed them as 1st and 2nd Vice Bishops respectively- an idea first used by Bishop Brumfield Johnson. Bishop Williams was invited to speak overseas and his protégés were too. As the organization grew with its influx of new churches in search of a shepherd, Bishop Williams divided the global map into territories. Not only did MCHCA have presences in North America, but also its international representation grew in the countries of Barbados, India, Trinidad& Tobago, England and the Bahamas. Bishop Williams filled the need for more oversight of the growing church be elevating Bishops and creating District Overseer positions. Eventually, Bishop Williams named Overseer Daniel Russell as Senior Pastor over his beloved Winston-Salem church, and joined his beloved wife, Pastor Shirley Ann Caesar-Williams as Co-Pastor of the Mt Calvary Word of Faith Church, in Raleigh, NC.


Bishop Williams during breakfast one day in August 2008, deemed it time to pass the Baton of leadership of the MCHCA to his successor and the third Senior Bishop in the Mt Calvary Holy Churches of America organization to now Senior Bishop Alfred A. Owens, Jr.


Bishop Harold I. Williams, Sr., a true man of God, a great leader, a remarkable teacher, a wonderful husband, a devoted dad, and a black history phenom.


by Pastor Robert Earl Houston

H.B. Charles Jr.

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